Supporting Reconstruction through Our Business Activities after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
|New processing plant of SOFCO Seafoods Inc.|
SOFCO Seafoods Inc. Resumes Operation in Kamaishi City
Group company SOFCO Seafoods Inc., which had a processing plant in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, suffered extensive damage from the disaster and was forced to suspend operations. However, the company decided to rebuild the plant to support the recovery of the marine products industry, which is the main industry in the coastal area, and to secure jobs for its employees. The company built a new plant in Unosumaicho, Kamaishi City with support from the city and Iwate Prefecture, and resumed operations in March 2012. The plant is also playing the role of a new community that reconnects about 100 employees who were separated by the disaster. SOFCO Seafoods aims to quickly restore business operations centered on the production of flaked salmon, one of its main products.
Solar Power Business Feasibility Study in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture
Taisei Corporation, Sojitz Corporation and Toshiba Corporation were awarded a contract by the Ministry of the Environment to conduct a feasibility study for constructing a 20MW solar power plant in Minamisoma City. Through this project, we aim to contribute to reconstruction in a way that counters global warming.
Initiatives in Biodiversity
|Ballast water treatment system|
Sojitz Marine & Engineering Corporation (SOMEC) invested in ballast water treatment system manufacturer Ecochlor, Inc. of the United States. Through this investment, SOMEC acquired distributorship for China, Korea and Taiwan in addition to Japan.
Used to stabilize vessels at sea, ballast water is taken on in ports where cargo is unloaded and discharged in ports where new loading occurs. However, this raises a concern that marine creatures (alien species) in the ballast water from one port will invade native species at the next port where the water is discharged, resulting in damage to the ecosystem. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004. If the convention goes into force, around 60,000 ships will be required to have ballast water treatment systems.
The system sold by SOMEC is compliant with United States Coast Guard standards, which are stricter than the IMO standard, and with the standards of individual U.S. states. Sojitz installed the system in one of its own ships that was completed in December 2011.
Environment-friendly Reef Brand Products（CSR Report 2009）
Reef beach sandals are the top-selling brand in the U.S., the fashion leader in beach sandal trends. Sojitz General Merchandise Corporation (Sojitz GMC), which deals in consumer products, obtained exclusive rights and a master license to sell Reef products on the Japanese market and began selling beach sandals, casual shoes, swimwear, T-shirts, beach pants and other items in January 2009. Reef incorporates environment-friendly touches in a number of its products, using discarded tires for part of its sandal insoles, chrome-free leather, jute, organic cotton and other natural materials. The brand also donates one percent of sales from some of its product series to environmental organizations.
Back-to-basics Cosmetics-Simplism（CSR Report 2009）
Sojitz Cosmetics Corporation, the Sojitz Group's cosmetics planning and sales company, carries a broad line of skin care and makeup products "for the healthy beauty of everyone in the family." In particular, its Simplism series focuses on simplicity, as the name implies.
The Amino & Collagen Gel in this series is a four-in-one product that works as a toner, creamy lotion, beauty serum and makeup base. It is all that's needed for skin care after washing. It is not just a plain and simple product; it also reduces packaging, etc. by three-quarters compared to conventional cosmetics.
Food Safety and Reliability（CSR Report 2008）
in renovating its quality control system, the Sojitz Group established the first quality assurance office at a general trading company and is strengthening efforts to ensure food safety and reliability.
In fiscal 2007, some consumers became seriously ill after eating frozen food products for which Sojitz's subsidiary Sojitz Foods Corporation handled import procedures. A police investigation detected the presence of an organophosphate pesticide on the products. We take incidents such as this very seriously, and are working to further strengthen systems for ensuring food safety and reliability throughout the Sojitz Group. Here are some of the steps we are taking.
• Unified Group Management by the Quality Assurance Office
The Sojitz Group's measures for food safety and reliability previously were based on the Sojitz Group Rules for Confirming and Ensuring Food Safety. On April 1, 2008, we moved to raise the effectiveness of those measures by establishing the Quality Assurance Office within the Foods Unit to provide unified management and leadership for food safety and reliability for the entire Sojitz Group.
The Quality Assurance Office is headed by a specialist from Japan Frozen Foods Inspection Corporation(*1), and is building a quality control system with a high level of expertise. Below are some of the measures the office is taking.
(*1)Japan Frozen Foods Inspection Corporation (JFFIC) is a public corporation and general food inspection agency. It serves diverse needs, focusing on testing, inspection and quality assurance, to maintain food safety and reliability.
(*2)Only main items are shown.
Quality control training seminar
1.Improved System of Testing for Pesticides and Other Chemicals
Testing was previously done primarily at the production stage, but we are extending it to the raw material stage and even to growing areas in order to verify safety.
2.Expanded Factory Audit Items
We have expanded the number of items checked in factory audits from 100 to 150, and improved criteria to conduct more rigorous audits. Previously, audits were centered on items related to food safety in the production process. The addition of items related to food reliability, such as chemical substance control and the presence of surveillance cameras, has reinforced food safety and reliability.
3.Strengthened Factory Audits and Production Floor Visits
The audits that were previously carried out at each Group company now are conducted in principle by the Quality Assurance Office, using a consistent set of criteria. This approach concentrates audit tasks and factory information at a single location. Six auditors assigned to the Quality Assurance Office conduct regular audits. Other improvements include having Quality Assurance Office staff attend screening of new factories and the first production run of new products as a standard practice.
4.Established China Liaison Office
On May 8, 2008, the Quality Assurance Office's China Branch Office was established at Sojitz (Dalian) Co., Ltd. For all production plants in China that supply the Sojitz Group, the branch office 1) conducts fact-finding surveys of production plant management and the risks of agricultural, livestock and marine raw materials used by the production plants; 2) checks, improves/eliminates and provides direction for growing areas to ensure safe and secure raw materials; and 3) provides quality control education and training to key employees of production plants to raise the level of quality control. We also plan to establish a branch office in Southeast Asia, where many production plants that supply us are located, and will continue efforts to strengthen quality management systems at production plants overseas.
5.Revised Criteria of Complaint Levels
To better ensure quick response and minimization of damage when a problem arises, we have adopted stricter criteria and revised response items based on a five-step decision table that is used when a complaint is made.
Through these and other measures, the entire Sojitz Group is working to make sure that it can deliver safer and more reliable food products to consumers.
Working to Increase Knowledge and Awareness of Quality and Risk (Annual Report 2008)
At the Quality Assurance Office, our efforts to enhance safety and reliability are centered on the five steps described in the main text above, but another key element in addition to these systemic improvements is people. We are cultivating people with a high level of knowledge and awareness concerning quality and risk, which are necessary for delivering safer and more reliable products to our customers.
The Quality Assurance Office is therefore focusing its efforts on improving and implementing education and training programs for Sojitz Group companies. We have also established the Food Safety Communications Conference, which is held periodically to share quality control information within the Group and to raise awareness.